FIFSW statement of solidarity against anti-Asian racism
The FIFSW community was heartbroken to learn about the horrific murders in Atlanta on March 16, 2021 in which eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, were shot and killed. These attacks have occurred in the context of increasing anti-Asian racism in both Canada and the United States. Asian women, trans and non-binary people in particular have been disproportionately affected by hate crimes, including the violent murder of Ashley Noell Arzaga who was killed at a North York spa on Feb. 24, 2020. Further, a recent report shows that Canada has higher incidents of anti-Asian racism per capita than the United States.
The Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work joins the University of Toronto community, including President Meric Gertler, and agencies, organizations and individuals across North America in vehemently condemning anti-Asian discrimination and racism and all forms of racial violence.
We recognize this has been a devastating week for people of Asian descent and other racialized communities who experience discrimination, harassment, and threats of violence on a daily basis. For those who are struggling, please know that we see you, grieve with you, and stand in solidarity with you.
For far too long, people of Asian descent and Asian migrants have been targeted by misogyny, gender-based violence, sexual violence, and racism. Intersectional stigma and discrimination, in addition to sexism, and racism against people of Asian descent is exacerbated by the toxic combination of sexual objectification and ‘exotifying’ of Asian women, trans and non-binary people. Both here in Toronto and beyond, women, trans and non-binary people in these communities are subject to harmful policies and excessive policing that further deny their dignity, human rights and safety.
The increase in harassment and gender-based violence against Canadians of Asian descent is also linked to discrimination and inequality produced through Canada’s immigration system and labour market, where many Asian immigrants experience precarious immigration status and precarious employment. This must end. As social work educators, researchers and practitioners, we know that the health and safety of migrant women, trans and non-binary people and sex workers is unduly impacted by the rights that they have been denied.
FIFSW is committed to working with community-based advocates and leaders to fight racism, xenophobia, white supremacy, and gender-based violence through our research, leadership, teaching, service, and community engagement. Equity, social justice, and human rights are key components of our collective health. The status quo cannot stand.
This statement was crafted on behalf of the students, faculty, and staff of FIFSW with the help of the following faculty & staff members: Ramona Alaggia, Rupaleem Bhuyan, Tara Black, Manaal Fahim, Natasha Lan, Eunjung Lee, Peter Newman, Izumi Sakamoto, and Dexter Voisin.
Anti-Violence Community Resources
- Butterfly: Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Network
- Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNCTO)
- Fight COVID-19 Racism
- Project 1907
- National Association of Japanese Canadians
- Durham Region Human Trafficking Coalition: Stop HT Now
Direct Services & Support Programs
- U of T My SSP for students: call 1-844-451-9700 or download the app at the Apple App Store or Google Play. Immediate counselling support is available in 35 languages and ongoing support in 146 languages.
- Hong Fook Mental Health Association
- Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS)
- Japanese Social Services (Toronto)
- KCWA Family and Social Services (Toronto)
- The Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto
- The Schlifer Clinic
- Anishnawbe Health Toronto Mental Health Crisis Line: 416-360-0486
- Strides Toronto (children & youth)
- What’s Up Walk-in (Provides service to 29 years old and under. Has capacity in Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Tagalog languages.)
- Community Family Services of Ontario (Provides service in Mandarin and Cantonese)
Events, workshops & toolkits
All forms of discrimination and racial violence are interconnected. Below is a list of some opportunities for discussion, learning and action.
Anti-Asian Racism: BIPOC Solidarity Space
March 24th, 12:00-1:30pm EST
A Zoom link was sent out in the March 19 Student Digest.
This space is open to FIFSW students, administrative staff, and faculty to share, listen, and learn from each other how systemic racism is impacting us and our work. Co-facilitated by Izumi Sakamoto and Rupaleem Bhuyan.
Upcoming event: How the social work profession has promoted racism without racists: Real talk about anti-Black racism
Presented by FIFSW – Register via zoom
March 26, 6:00 – 7:00pm
Anti-Asian Racism and COVID
March 23, 5:30 – 6:30pm
Presented by UTMSU – Register via zoom
A talk on the effects of COVID-19 Racism and Stigmatization with Professor Carmen Logie
Mourning the Victims of the Atlanta Massacre—Standing in Solidarity Against Racial, Sexual, and Colonial Violence
Available via YouTube
Presented by the Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages
March 21, 6pm
Online video: Social Work, White Supremacy, and Racial Justice Symposium Series
Sponsored by UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Howard University School of Social Work, University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, and Arizona State University School of Social Work
Available via YouTube
Part 1: Our Historical Legacy of Racism and White Supremacy (November 2020)
Part 2: Reflections on Past and Present: Addressing Racism from Within (February 2021)
Part 3: Envisioning an Anti-Racist Future (March 2021)
Asian American Racial Justice Toolkit
(US based) Asian American Community Resources